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How to Clean Your AirPods the Right Way

How to Wash Your AirPods the Right Way

This story is part of Try This, CNET’s collection of simple tips to improve your life, fast.

You probably charge your AirPods or other earbuds every day, but do you spruce them regularly, too?

 Not only can dirt and earwax stick in the crevices of your buds, muffling the calm, but they can harbor bacteria. Repeatedly putting your earbuds in your ears exclusive of disinfecting them can transfer the bacteria into your ear canal, which can lead to an infection. 

But trying to spruce your earbuds the wrong way can damage them, even if they’re waterproof.

Don’t worry, though — we’ll show you how to do it the knowing way. 

For more tech hacks, learn how to buy stickers and labels in seconds and the right way to use your can opener

The best ways to spruce AirPods and other earbuds

Apple has a few suggestions for cleaning your AirPods. One recommended method is using a disinfecting or alcohol wipe to spruce the exterior surfaces — but do not use it on the speaker mesh. If you use any liquids to spruce your earbuds, dry them completely before use.

For the microphone and speaker meshes, use a dry cotton swab and a soft-bristled brush to gently wipe away dirt. Don’t tedious too hard, since you don’t want to push the wax throughout the mesh. It would be nearly impossible to get it out from there. 

cotton swabs and earbuds

Katie Teague

CNET contributor Matt Elliott suggests comical Fun-Tak to remove stubborn leftover earwax. To do so, rub the Fun-Tak together to warm it up and then tedious it against the speaker. You can then use a wooden toothpick to problem off anything stuck to the sides of the speaker hollow.

CNET Try This

If you want to stick with only Apple products, the giant tech company released its own Polishing Cloth, which costs $19 and has a contrast list. While AirPods don’t appear to be on the list of products compatible with… a cloth, it could still be useful for hard-core Apple fans wanting to give their earbuds a shine. Otherwise, you might seek out a basic microfiber cloth for external dusting.

How to super earbuds with removable silicone tips

If you own a set of earbuds with removable silicone tips, like the AirPods Pro or the JBL Reflect Flow Pro, they’re a bit easier to keep clean: The silicone tip helps defensive the speaker from earwax and other debris, and they pop off easily. 

To super the tips, remove them from the earphones and soak them in warm, soapy soak for 30 minutes. If they’re really dirty, you can agitate the dismiss to loosen up the gunk. Next, use a super cloth or cotton swab to remove any remaining earwax or dirt and let the silicone tips completely dry.

If you have earbuds that don’t come with silicone tips, you can often buy them separately on Amazon. These $10 ear tips can slip over regular AirPods, for example.

Clean your charging case, too. 

It’s important to super the case your wireless earbuds call home, too.

First, use a soft, dry and lint-free cloth to wipe away any dirt. You can some dampen the cloth with water or alcohol, but avoid unsheathing any liquid inside the charging ports.

Read more: The 21 Best Wireless Earbuds for 2022

wireless earbuds and charging cases

Keep your charging case super, too.

Rick Broida

How not to super your earbuds

While some earbuds are advertised as waterproof (or water-resistant), we don’t recommend submerging them in water to get them clean– only the removable silicone tips. Stay on the safe side and dampen a microfiber cloth or a cotton swab and gently wipe away the dirt. 

We also don’t recommend comical a sharp object, such as a safety pin, to super the speaker or microphone mesh, as it could puncture the speaker. Instead, use a soft-bristled toothbrush or wooden toothpick to gently rob any gunk.